PT Guides: Faeria 101 - Board Basics

By Brendan Weiskotten 22 Mar 2017 0

Welcome! New CCG-on-the-block Faeria may have had a bit of rocky launch on iOS, but it's already captured the hearts & minds of many, including new writer Brendan! Starting today, we're going to be running a series of articles looking at the game more in-depth so that newcomers can get into the game quickly. This will be a three-part run to start with, but if you want to read more do let us know in the comments below. For now, I'll let Brendan take it away with this introductory guide to board basics.

When I started playing Faeria upon release, I instantly felt that the game could (mostly) be summed up as a beautiful hybrid of the two largest CCGs of all time—Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone—with one obvious outlier: the “living board”. This digital playground alters your strategy in a way nothing in either of those two games does. Not only do you need to pay attention to what cards your opponent could play or what answers you might have remaining in your deck, you need to constantly be planning for those scenarios with your land choices. Play out too few of a land type or fail to move toward a well at the right time, and you may find yourself between a rock and a hard place in future turns.

Today we're going to talk about the basic concepts and strategies you need to be aware of when it comes to interacting with your board, from wells & land, to trying to land that killing blow on your opponent's orb.

Protective Screen
Faeria Wells

If you’ve studied chess theory at all, you might be inclined to head straight for the center of the board and spread out from there. While that strategy might work for a strong rush deck, it’s going to fail for almost every other type of deck in Faeria. Why? Faeria wells.

Getting three faeria per turn is helpful, but the most powerful decks (and cards) want a lot more than that. There are a few competitive decks (and cards) that can gain you a lot of faeria without much help from wells, but in general, wells are the most important points on the board. Think about if you were to start a game by heading straight for the center of the board, while your opponent went for their nearest wells. By the start of turn 3, they might already have a three-faeria advantage over you, increasing by two every turn you fail to secure a well. That’s an extra turn of faeria on turn 3!

What are some general rules to live by when it comes to wells?

  1. Try to keep a creature at your orb’s nearby wells whenever possible.
  2. Deny your opponent access to their nearby wells so long as you’re not spending a ton of effort. Have a 2-damage spell in your hand and they have a 2-life creature by their well? Take it out! In general, putting pressure on their orb will achieve this as well.
  3. Don’t let your best creatures linger by an orb when they could be better used elsewhere on the board. Sometimes, it’s better to give up the extra mana in order to have a worthwhile creature enter the fray.

Lands (and Other Actions)

Laying lands in Faeria is a whole strategy by itself. There are a multitude of tactics available to you, and few of them are wrong 100% of the time. To go back to the chess comparison, the strategy of laying lands feels a lot like chess theory: there’s an early game, mid game, and late game. I’m not sure there’s enough data to formulate more than speculative mid and late game strategies this early in the game’s life, but there are some clear early game tactics that are used consistently.

Rush Start
A Rush strategy is where a player will ignore wells in the early game and start by laying as many lands down as possible in a direct path for the opponent’s orb. This strategy has two weaknesses that you want to consider when attempting it. First, in order to get at the opponent as quick as possible—and give them as little time as possible to block—you usually want to lay down neutral lands, hindering your ability to play your element-aligned cards. This is best offset by creatures that create a land with a Gift ability. Second, it restricts you to three faeria per turn for almost all of the early game. The easiest way to solve this problem is to play cheap cards, but the weakness is one that’s meant to exist for rush decks and will always be there.

Defense strategy full
A defense strategy in its purest form would probably look similar to a diamond connecting your orb, two closest wells, and the center of the board. It would not get you near your opponent, but for decks that don’t care about that, this might be worth trying. The key is to prevent your opponent from setting lands within two spaces of your orb. Personally, I don’t think there are many times where this is a strong strategy because it allows your opponent access to all four wells and puts little pressure on their orb. However, a red deck trying to deal damage to your opponent from spells and abilities rather than cards seems like one way to do it.

Basic start full
The third, and most popular, early strategy I’ve seen is when you lay lands to gain access to your two closest wells and then attempt to move toward your opponent along one side of the board. This strategy gives you faeria while allowing you to be flexible in how you interact with your opponent. If you want to engage them directly, you can lay lands on the same side and go to war. Or you can lay lands on the opposite side and attempt to get near their orb. This strategy also requires less early expansion compared to the other two, allowing you to play more elemental lands for your cards.

The additional two actions (draw and gain one faeria) are handy, but best used late in the game once you’ve established a board presence. Use them too early, and you risk giving your opponent the upper hand.

Orbs

When you first start playing, there is a natural urge to surround your orb with lands in an attempt to ward off your opponent. This is okay if you’re playing a purely defensive deck that doesn’t wish to attack your opponent’s orb with creatures, but otherwise, it is a waste of resources for little gain. Every deck has tricks, and your opponent will eventually use theirs to get to your orb. In addition, if your opponent is playing any sort of card like Blood Singer, where they can directly affect your life without hitting your orb, you will have no way to reach that card on the board.

Through the breach
The most important goal is to fill the two spaces on either side of your orb so that you can readily summon defenders when needed. Beyond those two spaces, fill in as you are able, but don’t do it at the expense of advancing your board position in other ways. (i.e. contesting a well or pressuring your opponent)

The board of Faeria is complex once you start playing, and there are so many ways to develop your strategy over the course of a game. Some depend on your deck, some depend on your opponent, and others are just a net positive in most situations. I’ve attempted to cover the general situations you might find yourself in, but please let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@bweisko) if you’d like a more detailed analysis of laying lands and the board.

What have been your common board strategies? Let us know in the comments below! We'll be back with another Faeria 101 article next week, so stay tuned!

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